Conservation Of The Gold-Embroidered Epitaphios From The St Paul Monastery, Mount Athos: The Hidden Story Of An Ecclesiastical Textile

User menu

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Kousoulou, Tatiana;


Conservation and the Eastern Mediterranean: Contributions to the 2010 IIC Congress, Istanbul, p.12-17 (2010)


This contribution presents the study of, and conservation strategy for, a historic fifteenth-century ceremonial textile from the St Paul Monastery, Mount Athos. This World Heritage Site is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Greek Republic. Bearing in mind that access is restricted and that only males are allowed entrance, the transportation of this important textile object to the female-operated textile conservation studio of the Directorate of Conservation of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture in Athens, was a major achievement. The very poor state of preservation, as well as several previous interventions, including an extensive overpainting of the embroidered surface, necessitated scientific investigation and special treatment for the object. The discoveries made during the examination and conservation processes, including the wealth of information on the reverse of the textile, are described and practical solutions to the preparation of the object for future display in the monastery are also revealed.